Beans: Only (2006)
Drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker handle their tasks like the pros they are, providing Beans with a steady rhythm and backdrop for his futuristic outlook. Longtime Antipop Consortium fans might argue that the lack of actual rapping on Only detracts from the album's marketability, but the synth-heavy "Only 7," which includes a slowed down rap (not to mention fantastic drums), should please Beans' diehard fans. Similarly, "Only 4" showcases Beans' mainstay talent best with an almost free-flow rap over low-key keyboards and subdued bass and snare beats.
However, Only meanders a bit at timesthe repetition on "Only 3" gets old rather quickly, but Beans is a master at his craft and doesn't let it get stale for long. "Only 71" sounds more like an Future Sound of London track than actual jazz, and Beans' nine-minute "Only 20" is the the closest kin to a jazz standard that he allows on the record.
Overall, Only seems more improvised than remixed, and this fact seems to reinforce Beans' goalto push the envelope further with each release, to try something new, and make sure that each instrument (human and musical) is integral in the collaboration. His music may not appeal to closed-minded jazz afficianados, but it's tough to argue that the idea behind Only isn't what jazz is all about.
Track Listing: Only 5; Only 1; Only 7; Only 4; Only 3; Only 71; Only 118; Only 20; Only 56; Only 198
Personnel: Beans: mixing/rapping; William Parker: bass; Hamid Drake: percussion.
Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings
Style: Fringes of Jazz